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Chai For Health

Photo Credit: Pragya Kothari

Camellia Sinensis: The Perfect Coffee Alternative

Initially pronounced “tay” in China’s Fujian province and later coined as “tee” by the English in the late eighteenth century, t-e-a has been a longtime favorite drink among the South Asian culture. Whether in the form of a cup of masala chai or a simmering cup of plain hot water and tea leaves, chai tends to follow South Asians wherever they may go in the world. Anytime spent in countries such as India, Pakistan or Nepal will prove that a typical morning routine will not consist of a run to Starbucks but instead spent preparing tea. The habit of a cup of non-caffeinated tea being brewed in the mornings and afternoons for a soothing and relaxed feeling in the homes of many “desi” families offers quite a nostalgic moment.

All tea hails from the Camellia Sinensis plant originally found in Mainland China but is grown throughout the world today. Enjoyed at different hours during the day, this warm and comforting beverage is the preferred alternative to coffee and soda for many South Asians as it is quick to make at home and provides numerous benefits. Popular for its simplicity and loved for the numerous fancy flavors, tea is second only to water in terms of the most consumed beverage in the world.

In an effort to juggle careers, family and personal health, women are always looking for secrets to enhance their health. Apart from its delicious taste, tea offers numerous health and beauty benefits sought after by women. From clear skin to a healthy immune system, different teas offer several benefits not found in other beverages.

Alertness Without Jitteryness:
With jobs, school, family responsibilities and social obligations women today are constantly on the go and in much need of some de-stressing. Five-hour energy supplements may force one to stay awake when most needed, however there are several healthier options to stay focused on a daily basis. While coffee is great for helping one stay alert, it also causes nervousness and anxiety. Tea provides the same attentiveness and energy as coffee without a mid-day energy crash. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that helps people feel refreshed and calm without the many side effects present in carbonated drinks. A daily cup of your favorite flavored tea in the morning can help you keep your cool everyday while you attend class, have a part-time job and take care of your family.

Better Complexion:
Tea contains vitamin C, zinc and magnesium which aids in improving one’s complexion. A cup of tea will help your skin glow on a permanent basis as it contains several antioxidants that will help fight several skin problems such as acne and blackheads. Green tea contains the polyphenol EGCG which rejuvenates dead skin cells giving you a fresh complexion. Refreshed skin cells also help your skin age less quickly.

Mood:
While many studies have shown that coffee can boost your mood and keep you feeling bubbly on a daily basis, it comes with many side effects such as irritability, nervousness and headaches. Tea, on the other hand, can also act as a mood booster without coffee’s side effects. It is recommended that no more than one cup of tea a day can keep spirits high on an everyday basis. The ingredient bergamot present in Earl Grey teas is a good herbal remedy for people that face stress, depression and mood swings.

Immune System:
Chemicals called alkylamines are found in tea and aid in the effort to fight off certain diseases and bacterias. Once again, the amino acid L-theanine found in tea builds up immunities in one’s body against several illnesses. Those that drink tea on a regular basis have a much higher chance of an improved immune system to fight infections that attack one’s body.

Weight Loss:
For quite some time green tea has been a healthy alternative to reducing waistlines and cholesterol levels. The components EGCG and caffeine arouse the process of thermogenesis in one’s body, which produces heat and energy. The increase in energy in the body ups the metabolism rate and thus allows the body to burn more calories. While drinking green tea alone will not help one shed all the unwanted pounds, it can assist in the process. Paired with the right amount of diet and exercise, green tea will boost one’s metabolism and aid in weight loss.

— ARPITA PARIKH

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